The control, resistance, and evolution of digital artifacts: a materialist study of internet culture Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/dr26z180x

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  • My goal is to demonstrate that a coevolutionary relationship exists between decentralized networks over which digital media are used and the control mechanisms placed on those networks and digital media. The resisting digital media and the control mechanisms placed on them push each other toward further decentralization. The aspects of a network that are externally controlled tend to decentralize to evade capture, and the control mechanisms tend to also use decentralized strategies so that they may better control decentralized networks. Using the interdisciplinary terminology of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, and other critical theorists, I investigate the movements of files on computer networks. By analyzing examples of digital artifacts that were distributed in a decentralized way in response to pressure placed on them by intellectual property enforcing institutions, I show that digital artifacts can respond to selection pressures in a way similar to evolution. I also examine the decentralized control strategies that attempt to regulate the spread of digital artifacts that contain elements that have been marked as intellectual property. I conclude that control and resistance do push each other toward decentralization.
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